TOUR REPORT ON APRIL 1, 2018 AT MEIJI JINGU SHRINE AND HARAJUKU
- Meiji Shrine and Harajuku
Under the perfect warm weather, we welcomed 35 guests!! They are from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Singapore and US. The guests were separated into five groups so that eleven tour guides could have closer communication with each guest in small groups.
We got together in front of the Ichino Torii Gate located right across the tiny bridge over JR Harajuku station, and began the tour on time, 10 am.
After learning about how to go through “torii,” i.e. to stop to bow for a moment before cross underneath, we had a nice walk on gravel path surrounded by fresh green forests toward the main shrine building. On the way, we explained various aspects of Japanese culture such as the imperial families, sake barrels and use of sake for spiritual purification, prayers crowd on new year’s eve, etc.
Before going into the main shrine, the guests could experience how to wash their hands to purify their hands and mouth. Then inside, we prayed together to the evergreen tree branch called Sakaki in Japanese, whose green leaves have sharp top to receive God’s bless from the upper world. The guests could also learn the precise manner of praying from the guides.
In addition to just praying with their hands putting together in front of God, throwing money, writing your wish on a wooden tablet called Ema was another fun event. Some of the guests today really did it had lots of fun.
As a gift to us, probably from God, we were lucky enough to see at least two couples in kimono for wedding around the building.
Having experienced solemn atmosphere inside the shrine, we plunged into the crowd of Harajuku, the mecca of Japan’s pop culture and fads. Since it was Sunday and right in the middle of a spring break for students as well; plus in the best season for going out, Takeshita Street were full of people. We barely keep walking to the end, which took far longer than usual. We hope the guests enjoyed even such a crowd as one of the must do’s, or inevitably “have to do” in Tokyo. (Posted by A.I.)